Saturday, 7 January 2012

Tomatoes for Italians...

An email request for my Italian clients for pasta with a 'simple tomato sauce' for their children for dinner had experienced cook who has spent ample time in Italy and has cooked all manner of pasta dishes for her own three children...grabbing for my cookbooks...MAD really but I have rarely cooked Italian for Italians and I knew that messing with the tomato is not a great idea!

So I ended my cookbook scout with Tessa Kiros' book 'Twelve...a Tuscan Cook Book'

Her simple tomato sauce is so 'simple' but restored my confidence and I went back to the rather complicated salmon dish that I was preparing for the adults! At the table the kids ate masses of the pasta in tomato sauce with generous gratings of Parmesan..I was reassured by their Mum that 'if they did not like it they would not have eaten it' so all was happiness and light! Off to bed while the parents enjoyed a nice evening catching up after a long Christmas break with family in the U.K.

So for all of you with small Italians..or other nationalities who love pasta! feed here is the recipe...
Simple Tomato Sauce by Tessa Kiros

3 cloves of Garlic
6 tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 large cans of peeled Italian tomatoes or 1.2 kg of peeled fresh tomatoes
12 basil leaves roughly torn
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the three cloves of garlic that have been peeled and crushed with the back of a knife. Cook gently till just brown...about 5 mins...
2. Add tomatoes and simmer gently for 20 mins stirring and crushing tomatoes into the sauce as they soften.
3. Add extra water to maintain a nice consistency...
4. Add basil leaves near the end of the cooking time and season to taste.
5. Cook pasta as directed by manufacturer and then drain reserving some of the water that the pasta was cooked in to thin the sauce. Add a tablespoon of butter to pasta mix to blend.
6. Serve with adequate sauce to coat and lots of freshly grated Parmesan.
7. Store the rest in a jar in the fridge [or freeze] till required.  This recipe makes about 700ml.
*Store your Parmesan wrapped in 2 layers of foil in the fridge to stop it drying out without sweating like it does in plastic. 
*If you grow basil or other herbs freeze them loosely in plastic bags when the sun is shining, capturing the essence of the season, and you will then be able to pull them out to enjoy in the winter.

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